Healthcast: Sesame Street puppet with autism inspires families

Local News

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, there’s a new family moving in on Sesame Street and they’re inspiring so many others across America.

What most families take for granted, Melissa Swailes cheers because her children, 5-year-old Brooklyn and 3-year-old carter have been diagnosed with autism, just like the puppet named Julia on their favorite show, Sesame Street.

Just like Carter and Brooklyn, Julia now has a family, too.

“I wouldn’t say surprised but I think it’s really great. I think it’s really important because family is how you’re going to get through all this. It’s not an easy road. That’s for sure,” Swailes said.

For Julia the puppet, it means that she might not answer you right away.

Sesame Street heard from lots of families after Julia’s character was introduced and wanted to do more.

Just as a child with autism may feel isolated, alone, families can often feel the same/ so this is also meant to show families what they have in common.

Melissa sees her daughter in Julia.

“Hopefully she recognizes that she can work through it just like Julia does,” Swailes said.

A lesson about acceptance and understanding is not just for kids, but the whole family.

Julia was the focus of last Sunday’s episode, in which Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and Alan helped Julia overcome her fear of getting a haircut by playing “hair salon” with her.     

Though a haircut can be intimidating for any child, the episode highlighted some specific coping strategies a child with autism might use in that situation.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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